Outreach and Education Division

    The EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIVISION supports chemistry education at all levels, including K-12, college, and adult/continuing education. It maintains liaisons to the Chicago Public Schools and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). The Division engages the general public in chemistry-related educational activities, participates in ACS activities at the annual Illinois State Fair, and publicizes all events and news-related content. The division oversees the annual Project SEED program for the Section as well as the Project SEED scholarships. The Division also assists public officials and other community bodies concerning chemistry-related matters. The Education and Outreach Division includes the Education, Outreach, Project SEED, and Public Affairs Committees.

    The EDUCATION COMMITTEE provides chemistry-related educational programs and information to learners of all ages and actively engages with educators at the pre-K-12 and college levels. Subcommittees include:

    • AACT Liaison
    • College Education Subcommittee
    • Continuing Education Subcommittee
    • Chicago School Board Liaison
    • K - 12 Education Subcommittee


    The PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ensures that section members and public officials and bodies are informed of matters where the knowledge and practice of chemistry is of substantial public importance. These matters can include government issues, environmental issues and the social responsibility of chemists. The Public Affairs Committee gives the Public Affairs Award biennially.

    The OUTREACH COMMITTEE engages the general public, educators and children in chemistry-related educational activities and participates in many different types of events around the greater Chicago area.   Subcommittees include:

    • Community Activities Subcommittee
    • Illinois State Fair Subcommittee


    PROJECT SEED COMMITTEE identifies interested low-income and/or minority high school junior and senior students who are interested in participating in a paid summer research experience with  a college or university faculty member.  It supports financial and logistical concerns for the student/ faculty relationships and communicating  relevant program information to the national ACS organization.  The committee is also responsible for distributing Project SEED awards to support the internships. 

    Wax 'n Wash


    Wally had a secret thought
    That he just had to tell.
    Wendy sat four desks away -
    He did not want to yell.
    How did our Wally do it
    So no one else could see?
    To send a secret message,
    Some candle wax is key!

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    Kids, Wally and Wendy needed these few essential items to send secret messages: a sheet of white paper, a white candle, watercolor paint and paintbrush, and water. Make up a short secret message and write it on the paper with your candle. It will be hard to see but try your best. Paint over the entire paper with the watercolors. Now can you read the writing more easily? Why did Wally and Wendy choose wax to write their messages? All waxes contain fats or oils. Waxes are made from petroleum oil, animal fats, or plant oils. Watercolor paint has water in it. As you know, oil and water don't mix. Water molecules and oil molecules are simply not attracted to each other, and so the paint will just slide off the wax. The paint sticks to the paper because it is attracted to the paper fibers.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    March 1998


    Taken From: Apples, Bubbles, and Crystals: Your Science ABCs, by A. Bennett & J. Kessler, 1996, McGraw Hill, NY.